Glenside’s Pinto: Two restaurants, one Southwestern vision

Pinto of 24 E. Glenside Avenue features what locals call “The Best Nachos in the World.” The culinary space houses two scratch-kitchen concept restaurants inspired by cuisine of the Southwest.

The Nacho Spot, a B.Y.O.B. first-floor dining area, offers seasonal Southwestern fare and house-made mixers available for purchase. Upstairs at Pinto is available as an event space for special occasions and celebrations, and features a multi-course fixed menu with complimentary cocktail pairings. Reservations can be made for a Sunday or Monday once each month, the dates of which are regularly announced via social media or the website. The space can accommodate up to 35 guests with menus designed for the occasion.

Co-owners Shannon Dougherty, originally from Levittown, and Liz Petersen, originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, work the kitchen in tandem. They’ve been happily married for eight years, a couple for more than 15 years, and when they’re not serving food and entertainment, they’re raising 14-year-old twin boys. Cheltenham is home.

“We always had the idea of bringing Arizona food to the east coast. There’s not a lot of Arizona-Mex food in the area,” Shannon said. “We’ve owned 3 restaurants before Pinto. We sold our two BYOs and we still have a restaurant in Fishtown called Cedar Point, which offers comfort food with a southern influence. We moved to Cheltenham years ago and we’d always been on a search to buy a building in our neighborhood and open a restaurant. We put a bid on the building twice and finally got it.”

Unfortunately for Pinto customers, the grand opening coincided with the onset of the pandemic.

“We bought the building and had to pretty much tear it down and start over,” Shannon said. “Then Covid hit, so it hasn’t been the easiest journey. We’ve been in business for two years, but people weren’t going out to eat at first. We closed down for two months and split the concept into two ideas. The downstairs is more takeout-friendly and casual, and the upstairs is more upscale, five-course style.”

The Nacho Spot is open for business Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:00pm to 9:00pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00pm to 10:00pm.

Co-owners Shannon Dougherty and Liz Peterson

For full menu listings, event reservations, and more, visit Pinto’s website.